Archive for the 'Crazy Noises' Category

20
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Behind the Laughter

Behind the Laughter2

“I can’t believe it, we won another contest!” – Marge Simpson
“The Simpsons are going to Delaware!” – Homer Simpson
“I want to see Wilmington!” – Lisa Simpson
“I want to visit a screen door factory.” – Bart Simpson
“This’ll be the last season.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “diaphragm”).

Charlie Sweatpants: Behind the laughter is one of the few Season 11 episodes that I do watch from time to time.

Dave: Do tell.

Charlie Sweatpants: This is one of those very few episodes that I think are basically Season 9 worthy. It’s definitely got some rough patches and things that don’t quite work, but it moves quickly and has a lot of good ideas.

  It definitely helps that there’s basically no story and they can just do flashbacks and little segments. By this time, story was hardly a concern.

Mad Jon: Agreed. I think the premise of the episode allowed much more license than normal.

  I was willing to overlook Homer being crazy in the interviews for comments like "And that horrible act of child abuse…"

Charlie Sweatpants: Right.

There’s "Peepin It Real", Teenwolf 3, Susan B Anthony Man, and Marge’s stern, disapproving diaphragm thing.

Dave: As I’m watching it now, there are a few more chuckles than I remember previously.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s nice and consistent too.

Even if there are some things that don’t work and/or go on too long, there aren’t a big stretches where there’s nothing decent.

A lot of these Season 11 episodes ("It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", included) start decently and then go running off the cliff as things get weirder and zanier.

Mad Jon: I think my feelings for this episode got better as they kept adding more and more seasons afterwards.

Charlie Sweatpants: Why’s that?

Mad Jon: The first time I saw it I probably thought to myself that, hey that’s fine, a lampoon of a relatively popular behind the scenes TV show that I’ve seen a hundred episodes of. Hell, I wouldn’t know anything about Thin Lizzy if not for VH1.

As I got older and less stupid, I came to the realization that we have discussed so many, many times. This episode would have been a great series finale, as opposed to a decent season finale.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, it would’ve.

  It could’ve been a bit meaner to itself, but that’s a tall order. On the other hand, for fans at least, it kind of is a series finale.

There’s classic Simpsons trivia nights in Chicago and Toronto now, and as far as I know they stop at Season 11 too.

Mad Jon: I’m not sure I could name any actual episode titles past this one.

  Although I imagine I could randomly assemble a few words, probably with one of the characters names, and be pretty close if not dead on.

It’s a matter of statistics at that point.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the road after this one is very long and very dark.

It’s like one of those photos of North and South Korea from space at night. The South is lit up like Christmas tree, and then there’s a really distinct line with just a few specs of light. This episode is the DMZ.

Mad Jon: That’s a pretty good analogy.

Dave: Yep, spot on.

Mad Jon: Back to things I enjoyed, I liked Bart as Renegade, along with his two side car sidekicks.

Charlie Sweatpants: The "I hear that Renegade" is one of those things I just can’t not smile at.

  There are a lot of good media parodies like that in this one.

Calling Krusty and "Embittered Comedy Legend", Bart’s fair weather friends, and Willie Nelson, taxpayer, are all pretty good.

Mad Jon: The subtitles in the interviews were generally good.

Charlie Sweatpants: And Jimmy Carter’s break dancing.

Mad Jon: Rapping comedy break dancing.

Charlie Sweatpants: And the "New Awareness Awards" being "an elaborate sham".

Dave: The fact that Bart and Richie Rich are best friends.

Charlie Sweatpants: For all the amusement though, a lot of it still feels kind of weak. Like the Grammy awards, which is funny with the categories and all, but they did that better way back in Season 5.

Mad Jon: Agreed. Also they had to throw in the obligatory Ozzie bites something…

I did like the early mention of going for frosty chocolate milkshakes. It made me want to watch Bart the Genius.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, they do a decent job of creating a decent parody backstory.

That their network connection was that the president of FOX was also a hair dresser is a good example.

  It’s just close enough to true that it works as satire. For the most part, this episode toes that line well.

Mad Jon: For sure. I also can’t help but think about the narrator’s line about gimmicky premises and nonsensical plots. As well as the shameless trotting out of celebrities.

Mainly I can’t stop thinking about it because it hadn’t even really begun to start.

Charlie Sweatpants: And I’m forever grateful for the "This’ll be the last season" joke.

Mad Jon: It’s like talking about how you are worried about someone’s alcoholism when they haven’t even missed a mortgage payment yet.

Call me when you notice they are living in the dumpster, then you will know what the bottom looks like.

Charlie Sweatpants: Heh.

Mad Jon: Unless they had a guest list and episode guide for the next half decade already written by that point…. Which I dunno, maybe the computer spits them out that far in advance.

Charlie Sweatpants: Seems unlikely. Anything else about this one?

Mad Jon: Nah, other than the "this will be the last season" bit you already mentioned, I don’t have much else that sticks with me.

Dave: Not from me. It was certainly the more pleasant of the two to watch.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s good for what it is, and by Season 11 standards, it’s very above average.

Well, gentlemen, ending on a so-so episode seems about right for this series of posts.

  WordPress tells me that this is the 153rd episode we’ve discussed over the past three and a half years.

Dave: That’s something.

Mad Jon: Where do the years go….

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say about half of them are any good, though I may be overestimating.

Mad Jon: That has to be more episodes than most TV series run, and probably by a long shot.

Charlie Sweatpants: True. Sadly I don’t think syndication riches are in our future.

Mad Jon: I’ll give you half with a lazy scale of 2.

Charlie Sweatpants: Is lazy scale like degree of difficulty?

Mad Jon: Meh.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good answer.

Dave: Lazy scale, nice.

Charlie Sweatpants: Before we sign off here, any general thoughts on Season 8-11? It’s four seasons where I think every season is worse than the one that precedes it.

The drop off from 8 to 9 is noticeable as hell, but the one from 9 to 10 might be the biggest total.

Mad Jon: I’m happy I had the opportunity to parse the Alzheimer like demise with the two of you. I’ve seen all of these before, but to actually consider them in order really let me see what kind of slope this show was on. And more than that, it was an opportunity to see why.

Dave: Yeah, that seems accurate. There was no return to form or anything.

Charlie Sweatpants: I sat through at least part of every episode from Season 12 and 13 before I quit on the show, and there aren’t much in the way of highlights from here.

Mad Jon: There really aren’t

Charlie Sweatpants: Just catastrophes like that damned Africa episode.

Mad Jon: Sometimes I think of one or two, but much like a dream, it fades faster than I can do anything about it.

Dave: How poetic

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, then, fellows, I can end on the poetic. Honor and a pleasure and all that.

Dave: Smell you later.

Mad Jon: Thank you gentlemen.

19
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge1

“Homer, look, we’re invited to Otto’s wedding.  Ooh, and such delicate tissue paper . . . huh, zigzag?” – Marge Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “Cyanide”).

Charlie Sweatpants: Once more unto the breach, dear friends?

Dave: Brothers in arms and all that.

Charlie Sweatpants: Or, in this case, the chat?

Mad Jon: Let’s do it.

  It’s a Mad^4 Marge?

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed.

This episode’s Wikipedia page says "The episode is notable for its poor reception among fans."

Mad Jon: Ha

  That’s funny

Dave: That seems like a cute understatement.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’ve never thought of this one as particularly notorious, but it is pretty bad.

Mad Jon: Yeah, it’s poor, but boring enough that it’s not one of my "oh god that’s awful" episodes.

It doesn’t offend me as much as it makes me not want to be around it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way to put it. By this point it’s more often than not that the episode is about as bad as this one. It doesn’t stand out anymore.

Mad Jon: There are plenty of offensive parts, don’t get me wrong. But I find my self just sort of waiting for it to end, or whatever it does.

I can’t really tell if there is one plot, with two smaller partial plots, or if it is two plots with an aside, or all one fluid deally. It’s hard for me to discern.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s more straightforward than most of the episodes at this point in that the opening isn’t wildly different and unrelated to the rest of it.

Mad Jon: I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I did like the ring that Otto gave Becky.

Charlie Sweatpants: There are a surprising amount of good jokes in this one. Though, for the most part, they’re nearer to the front than the end.

Mad Jon: Such as the fixing a marriage through gentle nagging?

Charlie Sweatpants: Sort of, that scene’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Mad Jon: Indeed it is.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t like Marge’s little wedding magazine thing, it just seems too out of character, like they had these wedding magazine jokes and they’ve got to cram them in somewhere.

But on the whole, yeah, that’s a good example of something that’s sort of okay, except for the weird packaging around it.

Mad Jon: You know, I only have a couple of + signs this week. Mostly my notes are summaries of the action so that when we did this I didn’t get lost in the crap.

  I kind of think Wiggum was the highlight of the episode.

Charlie Sweatpants: The chase scene where Marge escapes from the uber stupid mental health hearing is very distracting.

But even amidst it, the sign on the library saying "We have books about TV" is fantastic.

Mad Jon: The chase scene does suck.

But Wiggum’s description of the powerlessness of the law makes me laugh. As well as the ice cream in his hand when he randomly shows up to arrest Marge.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, Wiggum’s good, I just wish he’d shown up ten seconds earlier when Marge broke the cone but before that weird part where she’s swinging the cone and the show is playing this off like it’s Hitchcock or something.

Mad Jon: Fair enough

Charlie Sweatpants: My favorite part from this one may be Cyanide.

  They’ve only got two lines, and both of them are great.

Mad Jon: It was pretty funny

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point, I really appreciate a joke that doesn’t drag on.

Mad Jon: I have a hard time not busting out when the drummer asks for a ride.

Charlie Sweatpants: That one always gets me.

Mad Jon: The thing that I can’t believe I never noticed his how Homer is playing that knife game at the kitchen table in the very beginning for no apparent reason.

Dave: The episode is sort of a gentle, forgettable haze to me. Even as I’m watching it now.

Mad Jon: That’s a pretty good description

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say that’s true up to the ice cream parlor or so. After that the craziness starts to take more time, get more serious, get stupider, and really aggravate me.

This is one I don’t even like to put on in the background when I’m doing something else.

Mad Jon: Why would you? There are 300 – odd other episodes that suck that are still better than this.

Charlie Sweatpants: That makes it like most of Season 11, though.

I wouldn’t say that many. There’s enough good jokes in here that I’d rank this one above pretty much anything from Season 12/13 or so.

Dave: That may be so, but it still doesn’t enter my regular rotation.

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, not even close.

The next one, though, does sneak in every once and a while. Is there anything else here, or shall we move on to what coulda, woulda, shoulda, been the end of the show?

Mad Jon: I don’t have anything else productive to say. I am ready to put my back on the wall.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay then, let’s do this one last time.

13
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Last Tap Dance In Springfield

Last Tap Dance in Springfield1

“Okay, everyone, we need big smiles out there, so line up for dimpling.  Now, this may hurt a lot . . . what am I saying, ‘may’?” – Little Vicki

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “Revolucion”).

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week.]

Charlie Sweatpants: Onto more pleasant matters, it’s Little Vicki.

Mad Jon: Yay!

I most assuredly hate this one much much less.

Charlie Sweatpants: I as well. And I’m even willing to go so far as to say that, on balance, I think this one comes out ahead. Not by much, but I do like watching this one from time to time.

Mad Jon: It has some good parts. I especially like Little Vicki, and the Tango de la Muerte movie.

Charlie Sweatpants: Tango de la Muerte is mostly great, though it could’ve moved a bit swifter. Minor complaint though.

Mad Jon: Probably, but not at the expense of the dance partner selection and the "You are now carrying my child" bit.

Charlie Sweatpants: But how?

Mad Jon: I dunno, the constant interjection of the obvious by Lisa I suppose.

Charlie Sweatpants: Aw, come on, man! You’re supposed to say "It is the mystery of the dance."

Mad Jon: That would have been much better.

  Much better.

I was getting ready to explain that I can’t possibly be expected to defend any of my claims while still coming down from the last discussion.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, the Florida episode isn’t something you can just shake off.

Mad Jon: The sign in front of the Tango competition was good too. "Tonight tango, Tomorrow: Revolucion!"

Charlie Sweatpants: There is a lot to like here, especially Vicki. She’s just wonderfully nuts.

Mad Jon: Couldn’t have been written much better. Now as a homework assignment, go back in the last few years and see if I’ve ever said that before.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not gonna be doing that.

Mad Jon: Especially the tapping out codes until my shoes filled with blood, or the bit about communism.

  Both very good.

Charlie Sweatpants: Indeed. I like "Now, this may hurt a lot".

  So cheerful, so insane.

Mad Jon: Rolling out the welcome mat for the Reds…. There is a lot she does for this one.

  I would have KILLED for Tappa Tappa Tappa.

Charlie Sweatpants: I even don’t hate the B-plot here. It’s one of the last times I thought the show did Loony Tunes style comedy well, with Wiggum the primary star.

Mad Jon: Also pretty good.

  Not a lot of insanity to get them to the mall, not like they would do nowadays.

  A little bit of child endangerment? Sure. A few giant leaps of faith? I can see that. But all in all, a workable setup

Charlie Sweatpants: The mountain lion chase could’ve been dropped, and it didn’t make sense how Bart and Milhouse kept getting surprised by the store closing and them getting found out.

But Wiggum’s got enough good lines here that, again, on the whole I think it comes out ahead.

Mad Jon: Nah, that seems like something even a 10 year old would have planned a bit better. But I can live with it.

  Wiggum does have some good ones too.

Charlie Sweatpants: The worst part of the episode is how long the self-tapping shoes scene takes at the end, but, like the mountain lion, there’s enough good stuff going on around it that I don’t mind.

Mad Jon: I think, minus the whole crusty eye Homer thing that goes away, the only continuity issue that really struck me was the scene where they recital is beginning, then Lisa leaves to visit Frink, and then they are back at the recital.

Charlie Sweatpants: It’s a little herky-jerky, to be sure.

But the recital itself is mostly great. "Lean, muscular children of Mars", and Little Vicki generally being lots of fun.

Mad Jon: Would have fit in many seasons ago.

  And again, Vicky was just, just great.

Mad Jon: She did once destroy Buddy Ebsen’s credit rating.

Charlie Sweatpants: She did. The episode does have a Season 9 feel to it.

Mad Jon: I can see Season 9.

Charlie Sweatpants: Though I think my favorite is "Little advice: don’t live through your child." Coming from a Shirley Temple stand-in, that’s just wonderfully brutal.

Mad Jon: And surprisingly pre-Tiger Mom epidemic.

Charlie Sweatpants: Also true.

Mad Jon: At least I assume. I wasn’t really tuned into the world in the early aughts.

Charlie Sweatpants: Again, this one has problems. The whole Homer and Marge pressuring her to be more girly thing gets raised and never explored, and this is when Frink is crossing the line from funny to annoying plot device, and there are a lot of things that don’t quite follow from one to the other, but there are some original and memorable Simpsons stuff here. Like Vicki trying to encourage Lisa by telling her she needs to save Grampa’s farm.

And that guy saying, "As your wise, but alcoholic dance instructor. . ."

Mad Jon: Agreed. I am generally happy with what’s happening, especially for the season we’re in. But there are still plenty of zombie issues, one we have yet to cite being that the episode ends with homer being needlessly electrocuted.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does, but I can’t hate this one. It’s one of the last episodes I ever watch regularly.

Mad Jon: Yeah, you’re probably right about that. There isn’t really anything coming down the pipe, in like, forever from here.

Charlie Sweatpants: Not much, no.

Mad Jon: Funny how these chats don’t take nearly as long when I don’t want to kill myself. You’d think after a few years it would be the other way around.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, the first half was pretty bad. Maybe you just recover faster now?

Mad Jon: That’s reasonable, I guess.

12
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Kill the Alligator and Run

Kill the Alligator and Run1

“Florida?  But that’s America’s wang.” – Homer Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (but not on “clusterfucktastic”, which is my new favorite word).

[Note: Dave couldn’t make it this week.]

Mad Jon: So, you ready to get this shitshow going?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh, let’s.

Mad Jon: Kill the alligator and run?

Charlie Sweatpants: Since I already had to suffer through watching it, yes, let the catharsis begin.

Mad Jon: Excellent. I would like to begin by complaining about the parking cone hat man.

Charlie Sweatpants: Gotta start somewhere.

Mad Jon: I used to think this one was relatively watchable, then I realized that every time I watched it, I was either fucked up or doing something else.

Because when you really sit down to pay attention, I don’t think there are many other episodes in seasons before or recently after this one, that Homer is less of a detriment.

Charlie Sweatpants: How do you mean?

Mad Jon: I’m glad you asked.

Between the quiz master bit, the insanity bridge, and the perpetual spring break, Homer could not have been more of a zombie character.

Additionally, unlike recent episodes, such as the missionary one, the background characters do absolutely nothing but set him up even further.

There is no other focus, no boundaries, (other than Marge futilely tying him to the bed) to offset his insanity

  He actually asks his therapist why his baby isn’t gaining weight.

Charlie Sweatpants: So you’re saying that since the rest of the episode is as bad as he is, Jerkass Homer can’t do much damage to something that’s already a wasteland?

Mad Jon: No, I am saying that this time everyone steps back and lets him salt the earth.

I am not saying the rest of the episode wasn’t terrible, because it was. I am just saying that usually there is at least a semblance of an obstacle.

  And I don’t count the sheriff here, because he only makes it worse. And he drags Joe C down with him.

  There is a scene in this one where Homer drinks from the giant 40oz and actually says, “All for Homer, All for Homer.”

Charlie Sweatpants: There is.

Mad Jon: How… no. I was going to ask how he got up there when the bouncers instantly stopped him from helping what he thought was a lost child. But I’ve decided against it.

  Sorry… I had to get that off my chest.

Charlie Sweatpants: All valid points.

  Except that I’ve always hated this one with a bright and burning passion.

Mad Jon: You are apparently a better man than I.

Charlie Sweatpants: I can’t be 100% sure of this, but I’m pretty confident that I’ve only even seen this one twice before, the first time it aired and then again on syndication once and only once. Today was the third time, and I have no desire for there to ever be a fourth.

Mad Jon: No. You should definitely avoid this one.

Like I said, I must have never been paying attention, or my brain was distracted by the joys of youth, because this is the first time I feel I was actually paying attention, and I am worse off for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: The only semi-memorable thing here, other than “America’s Wang”, is that it somehow manages to consistently get weirder and more boring as it goes.

  You’d think by the time you get to the family being surrounded by a ring of fire after having been put on a chain gang, you’d be numb.

And yet, then the alligator comes walking out a building where he apparently was, and the show manages to hit a new note of “what the fuck?”.

Mad Jon: Or “we never cared in the first place.” One or the other.

This is of course, after the family celebrates their survival of a high speed train crash by taking a nap.

  I think someone was pulling ‘action cards’ out of a hat by that point.

Writer 1: “How can we make train crash and group nap fit in the same 30 second clip?”

Writer 2: “Watch and learn rookie!”

Charlie Sweatpants: Ugh, that may not be far off.

Mad Jon: Writer 3:”Oooh, I promised my mom we’d work ‘We built this city’ in somewhere…”

Writer 2: “Waaayyy ahead of you.”

The only + sign I have in my notes is next to “America’s Wang”, as you mentioned earlier. I literally have nothing else positive to say.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, that was pretty much it for the positive column.

  Even without the increasingly batshit story, there just wasn’t anything at all decent or funny going on.

I mean, when you have lines like Kid Rock saying “Yo, let’s waste that beyotch”, the writing can’t be much worse, even in theory.

Mad Jon: What gets me the most, is that most of the episodes we hate from this season have at least a few lines that remain quotable. I just don’t see that here.

Charlie Sweatpants: And on top of that, all the set pieces are just awful. They can’t even have Homer pull over without dragging it out.

Mad Jon: Or get a job without trying to kill his new employer seconds later, or drive a boat without getting his kids to party, or take a quiz without thinking he’s going to die… it goes on from here.

Charlie Sweatpants: And on and on and on, individual scenes take forever, jokes take forever, even the fucking plot twists take forever as we have to have two entire scenes of them getting arrested.

Mad Jon: That’s right. Two.

Charlie Sweatpants: The Kid Rock concert, as you mentioned, makes no damn sense and drags out, what, four times, longer than it needed to?

Mad Jon: About that.

  It just, kept, going.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there’s Homer’s multiple freak outs at the beginning, each of which seems to take longer than the last.

Mad Jon: A pink shirt landed him in the loony bin once, and this gets him a trip to Florida.

Again, clusterfucktastic.

He was trying to breast feed a plastic doll.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was. And that scene features one of those awful details where you wonder if they’re being malicious or if they just don’t care.

I’m speaking, of course, of Burns going through what appears to be an honest inspection before sleeping bag Homer shows up.

  That’s the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, that it is filled from stem to stern with hideous safety violations is one of its most endearing features.

Mad Jon: Yeah, Burns wasn’t even trying to bribe the government official.

  What is this world coming to?

Charlie Sweatpants: Well, they needed that time to have each Simpson patiently explain which diner job they were getting and why.

  Where would it be without those?

Mad Jon: Fair enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there are so many damn repeats here, Homer freaking out about being mortal is just one of them.

The whole opening is a half-assed redo of the Reading Digest opening from “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington”. They struck up Louie-Louie for the second time only this time it was unironic, and there was Homer speeding past the train, which was done without the goofy suspense in “Homer the Heretic”.

Mad Jon: Plus: Plant safety inspection that outs Homer, family takes on new existence to escape peril, and Homer gets involved in a music festival.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode is as bad as anything the show has done in the last four seasons. (Well, maybe not anything, but still.)

Mad Jon: The anything is definitely debatable.

But that’s not a positive thing, now is it?

Charlie Sweatpants:  No, it is not a positive thing.

It features every problem Zombie Simpsons has, tramples on older, better episodes, and has a plot that resolves itself when an alligator comes back from the fucking dead.

They spun themselves into such a tizzy that they barely made fun of one of America’s most mockable states. That alone should’ve gotten this show cancelled around this time.

Anything else here?

Mad Jon: No. I am ready to move on.

I can’t even think of a witty transition. That’s what this episode has done to me.

06
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Days of Wine and D’Ohses

Days of Wine and D'Ohses1

“Looky here, cardy-board tubes!” – Cletus
“Now we can have indoor plumbing, just like they’s got at the women’s lockup.” – Brandine
“They spoilt you, Brandine.  Sometimes I don’t even know who you are anymore.” – Cletus

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “morose”).

Charlie Sweatpants: Ah, sweet liquor eases the pain.

Mad Jon: As painful as it was, at least this one had two actual plot lines.

Charlie Sweatpants: Neither of which I can stomach sober.

Mad Jon: That seems to becoming rather uncommon in this season.

No one is asking you to like them.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d be hard pressed to declare this the worst episode in Season 11, there are a lot of contenders, but this one is as bad as Zombie Simpsons gets.

Mad Jon: It does have a lot of the major characteristics eh?

Charlie Sweatpants: Oh boy, does it.

Mad Jon: Extreme and maybe even permanent character change? Homer tagging along at all costs, more physical comedy attempts than word count…

Charlie Sweatpants: All that an more.

If possible, I’d like to work backwards here.

Mad Jon:  Let’s do it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Both the ending with Barney and the coffee and the ending with Marge pretending to have given away the bike are pointless filler because the actual ending left the original plot threads completely unresolved.

The major conflict is a forest fire that doesn’t break out until the sixteen minute mark, and once it finally does, half of what happens next contradicts things we just saw.

Mad Jon: So you are saying they saw a crack in the dike and tried to stick some gum in it?

Ha, I spelled it dike.

Charlie Sweatpants: This wasn’t a crack, this was more like trying to build a dam out of leaves and old newspaper.

Then setting it all on fire when it didn’t work.

Mad Jon: Yes well, you have always been the wordsmith.

Charlie Sweatpants: Barney suddenly can’t fly at all and is tempted by alcohol for no reason, and Bart and Lisa get trapped even though we saw them walking away before the fire started.

Homer can apparently fall out of the helicopter and rescue his kids.

Mad Jon: I do recall being curious how they got trapped by a fire that started when they left.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was a bear, briefly.

Mad Jon: Who also escaped the fire although he was in the middle of it.

Charlie Sweatpants: And, to make everything super fucking annoying, all of it is played for suspense. Like we’re supposed to take the rescue seriously when Homer just flipped the helicopter over and Barney can land on a bridge.

Mad Jon: G-forces have no effect on severe alcoholics? I don’t know.

Charlie Sweatpants: But they did hold onto the camera. I mean, someone thought that part was important.

I cannot, in any way shape or form, understand how anyone who could’ve remembered that part could also sign off on the rest of the fucking thing.

Mad Jon: That was their crowning achievement.

Charlie Sweatpants: I feel like Hugh trying to enjoy the Simpson family . . . nothing works. There is no conceivable level on which even a tiny bit of this works.

Mad Jon: Sure there is, you have to be 6.

Maybe 5. I dunno.

Charlie Sweatpants: Going further back from that, we get Homer and Barney fighting like some kind of teenage couple, which comes out of nowhere, happens painfully slowly and obviously, and then goes away.

Mad Jon: I have that in my notes as “awkward encounter between Homer and Barney”

Charlie Sweatpants: Childish Jerkass Homer is just as aggravating and entertainment free as regular Jerkass Homer.

Mad Jon: Homer is pretty unbearable throughout this one.

Charlie Sweatpants: Only Sober Barney here is way, way, way less fun than Sober Barney in “Deep Space Homer”, and even that little part of “A Star Is Burns”.

Or “City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”.

When did Barney – of all the characters on this show – become an overly sensitive asshole?

Mad Jon: It was reminiscent of Barney from “City of New York vs…”, he was panicky and slightly mean, but at least he had a good line. And the scene was better, and it ended as soon as possible.

Charlie Sweatpants: Going before that, why was there that odd, and quickly dropped, subplot about Homer being the new Barney?

Did they make Barney dance?

Mad Jon: I don’t remember that ever happening. And I would have to go back through years of tape to figure out where he normally sat, but I would guess it was relatively random.

Charlie Sweatpants: I recognize that the gang at Moe’s has come a long way from the recognizably blue collar bar Burns wanted to go slumming in, but these guys have stopped acting the least bit human.

Mad Jon: They are where they need to be when they need to be there. At least according to the writers.

Who are not in the right here…

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think they’re in the right, but that does imply that they made any coherent decisions during the making of this episode, which is a contention I can find no evidence to support.

I mean, they inserted a rubber ball bouncing noise when Bart threw the camera on the ground. What the hell was that?

Mad Jon: Oh yeah.

Charlie Sweatpants: That’s what I’m talking about when I say they’re just seeing how much they can not care and still get paid.

Mad Jon: Where are we in the backwards progression?

My notes suggest lots of horns.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’d say were about to Homer taking Barney to AA for some reason, but I’m happy to skip that and go right to the beginning where Barney, in contrast to everything we’ve ever seen from him ever, becomes a morose drunk.

Nobody remembered my birthday? From a man who openly admits that the years after he got out of the service are kind of a blur?

No. Ten thousand cocktails no.

Mad Jon: Can’t imagine it. But here we are.

I have never paid attention, but this sobriety thing comes and goes for like the next decade, eh?

But again, I’ve asked too much.

Charlie Sweatpants: It does, but that’s like worrying about twitching or evacuation after the corpse is already dead.

Shit, literally, happens.

Mad Jon: Well put.

Charlie Sweatpants: I really hate this episode, is all.

It was as unnecessary as it was unfunny.

Mad Jon: That is correct. It was both of those things. Although I did like the scene where Barney was harassing Lisa with the planets for foreigners. Mainly just that one cut though.

Charlie Sweatpants: Feh. It’s no “Mr. Gumble, this is a Girl Scout meeting.”

Mad Jon: That was much better.

But that’s about it, I can’t think of anything that wasn’t making me count the seconds until it was over. And that includes the beginning that we haven’t mentioned. Albeit short.

Charlie Sweatpants: The garbage thing?

Mad Jon: Yes that thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: I almost forgot about that, but then, so did the episode.

Mad Jon: I don’t even know what kind of context to put it in my mind.

Charlie Sweatpants: Garbage seems appropriate.

Alright, anything else here? My hate neurons are dry firing at this point. They need rest.

Mad Jon: I really have nothing else.

Dave: I’ve said nothing and I’m spent.

Mad Jon: And you are a better man for it.

Charlie Sweatpants: Honestly, for all my vitriol and Jon’s contempt, Dave’s silence is maybe the only comment this episode deserves.

The sooner the world forgets it ever happened, the better off it’ll be.

Dave: Pretty much.

Charlie Sweatpants: You clever bastard.

Dave: Why thank you.

05
Sep
12

Crazy Noises: Bart to the Future

Bart to the Future1

“When we’re finished, we can go through Bill Clinton’s porno stash.” – Bart Simpson

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (especially on “noticeable”).

Mad Jon: You guys ready to start the first one?

Dave: Sure, why not?

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, let’s dive in.

Not to start things on too much of a downer or anything, but this episode is really tough to watch and has almost no redeeming value. I’d basically forgotten it existed, and I am eager to return to that state.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I not a huge fan of the episodes that go to the future as such.

Dave: Too many future jokes, most dull and uninspired.

Signal:Noise bad.

Charlie Sweatpants: Good way to put it.

What’s really striking is how lame this future is compared to the one in Lisa’s Wedding.

Mad Jon: I wonder how much of that is due to the time frame.

But I wholeheartedly agree.

Lisa’s wedding is only, what, 12 years in the future? This one adds another 20+.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, but shouldn’t that give them more license and made it easier?

Mad Jon: Yes. But it makes it harder for us to deal with. They could have gone anywhere with the age, but kept it simple, and I still hate it.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t think they could’ve or would’ve done anything with it, but there’s just as little thought put into the setting here as there is to the story.

Mad Jon: If they would have gone nuts with the future, it would have been worse.

Charlie Sweatpants: Probably.

But they’re the ones who set it in the future, and so when they basically ignore that, it makes the episode even less fun to watch.

Mad Jon: I can buy that.

For sure.

Charlie Sweatpants: And there’s the big, giant, in your ear problem that both Bart and Ralph have their normal goddamn voices the whole time.

Mad Jon: Yeah, that was quite noticeable.

Charlie Sweatpants: I’m sure someone on staff had watched “Lisa’s Wedding”, Cartwright might have even remembered doing the lower Bart voice for the future there. It really shows how little they cared by this time.

Mad Jon: More of a “get it done and let’s go drinking” mentality.

Charlie Sweatpants: Very much so.

Mad Jon: As long as we are discussing laziness.

I would like to address how Marge, Homer, and Maggie’s kid Maggie are automatically at the White House.

Charlie Sweatpants: There was that.

Mad Jon: Bart gets the idea to mooch off of his sister, who I guess he just found out was president? He makes the move to go there, and the family lives there too?

After Bart just asked them for cash at home?

Charlie Sweatpants: It makes very, very little sense.

Mad Jon: How about that Bart and Ralph are bottom barrel broke, but live on the water?

Dave: Because why not.

Charlie Sweatpants: Apparently in some kind of tropical area, too.

Mad Jon: Apparently so.

Charlie Sweatpants: To the same point, Bart just walks into the White House and has the run of the place.

I don’t think there’s a single scene in the future that makes sense even just within itself.

Mad Jon: And is able to march into a meeting of various world leaders untouched as well.

Charlie Sweatpants: Around the future thing, there isn’t any sense to the Indian casino guy taking Bart on his little vision quest either.

Mad Jon: Doesn’t seem like a good use of his time, does it?

Charlie Sweatpants: It doesn’t. More importantly, they really dropped the ball on making fun of Indian casinos, which are among the most depressing places you can ever visit.

All they did was haul out some (mostly) lame Indian jokes. Ha ha, he’s got “crazy” in his name.

Though I did like the one about the linen service having broken many promises. That at least had some originality to it. Most of it? Zilch.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I haven’t spent much time in Indian casinos, but I imagine there was some pretty good material to be had.

Instead they have Bart on his own, for some reason, and a guy making 100k a minute using a vision to advertise his casino to a 10-year-old.

Charlie Sweatpants: There isn’t anything in this episode that doesn’t feel slapped together in, like you said, a “get it done and let’s go drinking” kind of way.

Mad Jon: The only thing I liked was the first Kearny explanation of the three secret murders. But they couldn’t leave it at that.

Wait, also I liked the Rod and Todd thing too.

Short and sweet.

Charlie Sweatpants: But even that made no sense.

They’re just there?

Mad Jon: No sense indeed, but a good visual gag of the two 40 yr old men with mustaches.

Charlie Sweatpants: Fair enough. In terms of things they couldn’t just drop, the park ranger saying that the bugs are “firmly in charge” is funny, then they take his ring . . . and then they take his hand. What the fuck?

Mad Jon: Yeah, again the normal ‘take things one to three steps too far’ was abound.

Count me not surprised.

And for that matter, consider my opinion of the ending along the same terms.

Charlie Sweatpants: Hey, we might not have gotten it through our thick skulls that Bart can deal with creditors the first four times.

Mad Jon: But we used to be cool!

Ok, we all agree that this one is terrible bordering upon criminal, correct? Anyone have anything else to add before we move on?

Charlie Sweatpants: I dunno, “first straight female president” was kinda funny, as was Clinton’s porn stash, but we’ve barely even mentioned that idiotic B-plot, which even they were a little ashamed of.

Mad Jon: Oh yeah, forgot about Lincoln’s gold.

Sorry to jump the gun.

Charlie Sweatpants: I don’t really need to delve into those if you guys don’t, though. This script should’ve been thrown into the sea.

Mad Jon: I did like Clinton’s stash. By the way, was Uter at the council of coolness?

Charlie Sweatpants: I dunno. I could check in less time than it’ll take me to finish typing this sentence, but I’m not going to.

Mad Jon: Probably for the best.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, Dave anything?

Dave: Hey, sorry. Distracted, nothing from me.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s run far away from this episode and . . . oh, crap, the next one is the one where Barney quits drinking, isn’t it?

Mad Jon: Yes. Unfortunately you are correct.

Charlie Sweatpants: Okay, let’s get started. I’m going to get the whisky.

Mad Jon: Thank God.

Dave: Let’s see how drunk we can get.

22
Aug
12

Crazy Noises: Pygmoelian

Pygmoelian2

“First, we must install buttocks.” – Plastic Surgeon
“Nah, nah, nah, no luxury items, just the face.” – Moe
“Okay, I’m gonna move this up . . . this, wider . . . I’m gonna lose that . . . I’ve never even seen one of these.” – Plastic Surgeon

For the fourth summer in a row, we here at the Dead Homer Society will be spending some time discussing twelve year old Simpsons episodes.  This year we’re doing Season 11.  Why Season 11?  Because we’ve done Seasons 8, 9 and 10 already, and it’s time to take an unflinching look at the end of the show.  Since Skype and podcasts didn’t exist in 1999, and we want to discuss these episodes the way the internet intended, we’re sticking with the UTF-8 world of chat rooms and instant messaging.  This text has been edited for clarity and spelling (surprisingly enough, not on “animatronic”).

Today’s episode is 1116, “Pygmoelian”.  Yesterday was 1115, “Missionary Impossible”.

Charlie Sweatpants: This episode also manages to feature a half a B-plot.

Mad Jon: Yep.

Charlie Sweatpants: Though, in this case, it’s all because they wanted to make gay Republican jokes, which weren’t all bad.

Mad Jon: No they weren’t.

Charlie Sweatpants: The setup was incredibly long, but “We’re realistic” about 2084 is funny.

Mad Jon: I have not seen this episode in forever, but I still remembered some of the gay Republican lines. So that’s saying something.

Dave: Yeah, still worth a chuckle today.

Charlie Sweatpants: The main plot, though, is a bit of a mess.

It admits it at the end in mercifully quick fashion, but once Moe starts working in soap operas, things just go from dumb to dumber.

Mad Jon: Yeah, and Homer is there to tag along every step of the way. Especially if that step involves throwing a brick or lighting a TV set on fire.

…In one of two scenes where he is apparently allowed on set and nobody stops him.

Charlie Sweatpants: That was even dumber when Moe just walked on set to demand the job that just happened to be open.

Mad Jon: And why did Homer have to be the one to deliver the calendars?

Dave: I found that really obnoxious, and I’m not sure why.

Mad Jon: Other than the B plot, is there a scene he is not in?

Dave: Maybe it was that moment of pointless pacing around before Homer (why?) shows up.

Charlie Sweatpants: At this point in the show, whenever Homer’s not on screen all the other characters are looking around and asking “Where’s Homer?”, so you’ve just kinda go numb to a lot of it.

In between Jerkass Homer, Azaria gets in some great lines as both Moe and the plastic surgeon.

Mad Jon: The surgeon was pretty good.

Charlie Sweatpants: He was, and Moe got in some good ones too, like “diseases of the head holes”.

Mad Jon: Funny indeed.

I also liked the drunk simulator, especially “Now you’re charming!”

Charlie Sweatpants: I like the animatronic robots. You think you’re better than me?

Of course, all that stuff has to be carefully observed while Homer is throwing bricks and walking onto what are apparently live soap opera shows.

Mad Jon: Yeah, didn’t mind Duff Days too much. Just how they got there. They could have just gone.

That’s right, it was indeed a live soap opera, onto which any old idiot can walk while wearing a homemade angel costume.

Also, I get that Homer doesn’t really have a job anymore, but do the kids still go to school?

Dave: Maybe?

Charlie Sweatpants: Not that I can tell, and at this point Lisa was basically only ever at school to interact with Skinner or Ralph or someone. Miss Hoover’s actual class is gone at this point.

There’s also no distinction between events and actions that I, the audience member, am supposed to think are real and those that aren’t.

Moe and Homer eventually get taken by soap opera security, right? But since there hadn’t been any security at all up to that point, it leaves the entire thing feeling not just goofy and improbable, but flat out impossible.

Mad Jon: Yeah, and like you mentioned earlier, they point it out at the end. But in my opinion that was more of a cop for the lack of an ending again.

Charlie Sweatpants: It was, but at least it was short.

Mad Jon: True enough.

Charlie Sweatpants: The other thing that bugs me here is that Springfield is now apparently host to a wildly popular soap opera, Duffman, and a high rise with gay Republicans in it.

Springfield increasingly feels like no place in these episodes.

That said, “It Never Ends” with the tagline “Like the cleaning of a house” is a damn funny soap opera title.

Mad Jon: I also liked the sign at Duff Days “A lost weekend for the Family”

They were still pretty solid with things like signs and titles and what not at this point.

Charlie Sweatpants: There were some good toss off jokes too, “Daddy I’m stealing” and “TV-ugly, not ugly ugly”.

Dave: Those were cute.

Mad Jon: Yeah, I liked the TV ugly thing.

Charlie Sweatpants: Things like that keep me from hating this episode too much. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s not a giant volcano racist lava pit or whatever.

Mad Jon: I liked this one more than the missionary one. But perhaps like is the wrong word. I hated this one less.

Dave: I was going to say, “like” seems a bit strong.

Mad Jon: I still won’t be putting it in the queue anytime soon.

Dave: Truth.

Charlie Sweatpants: Yeah, I can’t say that this one gets watched with any frequency by me, but at the same time, I get slightly less nauseous when I think about it the way I do with many of these other ones.

Between Azaria’s deliveries (I’ve been meaning to get that updated, for this state, and real) and some good one offs and signs, this is definitely above average for Season 11.

Mad Jon: Yeah, It probably would have been even better if they wouldn’t have insisted on shoving Homer into every damn scene. But overall I am in agreement, better than average, some good things, some things not so good, some things very angering.

Charlie Sweatpants: Well put, Lrrr from Omicron Persei 8.




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